Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War by Michael Kranish

Time Period
1764 to 1824
Media Type
Military History
Politics & Government
Michael Kranish

On March 4, 2010, Michael Kranish delivered a lecture on his book, Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War. In his new book, Michael Kranish recounts Thomas Jefferson’s difficult tenure as Virginia’s governor during the Revolution. The story begins with the background of struggle against British rule, then the tumultuous outbreak of fighting and Jefferson’s role in the Continental Congress, followed by his rise to the governorship. Influenced by Jefferson, Virginia provided for a weak chief executive, and the state was ill-prepared for invasion. When war came to the Old Dominion, the legislature fled the capital, and Jefferson narrowly eluded capture twice. Kranish describes his many stumbles as he struggled to respond to the crisis. “Jefferson’s record was both remarkable and unsatisfactory, filled with contradictions,” writes Kranish. As a revolutionary leader who felt he was unqualified to conduct a war, Jefferson never resolved those contradictions. But, as Kranish shows, he did learn lessons from the hard tutelage of war.

This lecture is cosponsored with the Society of Colonial Wars in Virginia. (Introduction by Paul A. Levengood)

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